Stress in adolescence
This is an important age for young men because it's when lifelong habits and behaviours are formed. Significant growth occurs as youth develop their identity and social skills. If a young man experiences consistent and repeated fear, worry, or uneasiness, it can inhibit his development. In some cases, the stress may contribute to an anxiety disorder which can lead to:
- Repeated school absences or an inability to finish school
- Impaired relations with friends and family
- Low self-esteem
- Alcohol or other drug-use
- Problems adjusting to work situations
- Anxiety disorder in adulthood
Did you know?
Studies suggest that young men are more likely to bully or be bullied, and this can contribute to anxiety.
What can be done?
While some stress is a healthy response to daily activities, excessive and repeated stress should be handled with special attention. For parents or caregivers, be aware of your own level of stress as young men often perceive and internalize some of their parents’ stress. Traumatic events such as illness or death in the family should be discussed. Young men are prone to internalizing concerns rather than voicing them, so it's very important to be open with your feelings as this may help them open up about their own. Good communication will help to ensure that as your son grows up, he'll be more willing to communicate his anxieties. Other things parents can do to help stress is to make sure that their children are physically healthy, including proper nutrition, sleep, and exercise.
If the problem becomes serious, discuss your concerns with your doctor, as they will be able to suggest a proper diagnosis or refer you to a specialist. These professionals will be able to offer different possible treatments:
- Cognitive-behavioural therapy – a psychological treatment that addresses the interactions between how we think, feel and behave
- Relaxation techniques – such as meditation, deep breathing and visualization
- Biofeedback – a process that enables an individual to learn how to change physiological activity for the purposes of improving health and performance
- Family therapy – working with families and couples in intimate relationships to nurture change and development